SA School Sports



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Friday, 26 April 2013 15:57


The Spur High School Mountain Bike League has shown exceptional growth over the past four years and judging by the number of entries in the early races of the 2013 series, the league is set for yet another record breaking season.

 MTB11The league was launched in 2009 as a joint initiative between the Spur Steak Ranches and league facilitator Amarider to create a national platform for school kids to have fun by participating in dedicated mountain biking events, while increasing the footprint of the sport in South Africa.

According to Andrew Cronje of the Spur Steak Ranches, the company is proud to be a part of grassroots mountain biking development at school level.  “We are delighted with the way the league has developed both in terms of numbers and transformation.  Since the inaugural season in 2009, which saw around 900 riders participating in 20 events in key centres around the country, the league has grown to attract over 5300 entries in 2012,” said Cronje.

The Spur High School Mountain Bike League is expected to reach 6500 entries this year with 48 events to be hosted in nine provinces across the country as well as in Zimbabwe, Namibia and Lesotho.   The league is run on the same lap-racing format as Olympic mountain bike competitions with a strong emphasis on making the races accessible to all in terms of route difficulty and race distance.

League facilitator Meurant Botha of Amarider applauds the regional co-ordinators for growing their respective regions and driving a number of exciting local development initiatives, which according to him is paramount to the sustainability of the Spur High School Mountain Bike League.

“By promoting existing events and facilitating new events in as many locations as possible, we are making participation easy and accessible.  I believe however that the most progressive developments will be in smaller cities and am looking at the feasibility of a mobile event unit that takes racing to the kids - complete with bikes, helmets and event activations,” says Botha.

The Gauteng region in association with Anatomic is currently leading in terms of numbers and logged 1510 riders during the 2012 season.  According to provincial league co-ordinator Deon Steyn, who has recently been elected as president of South African School Cycling, the league gives high school pupils the opportunity to represent their schools in cycling in a similar manner as with the more traditional team sports.

As mountain biking is predominantly an individual sport, the points’ structure of the league focuses on team participation at school level.   Schools compete in different age categories in regional events, including sub-junior boys and girls (13-14 years), youth men and women (15-16 years) and junior men and women (17-18 years).  In each race, riders are allocated points according to their finishing positions. 

The league culminates with the national finals on 21 September, which will be hosted for the third year running at Bekker School in Magaliesburg, where schools will compete in three categories namely best girls, best boys and best mixed team.  School teams that finish their regional competitions within the top three positions in each category will automatically qualify for the Spur High School National Finals.  

“A portion of the Spur Steak Ranches sponsorship funds has been also allocated to provide all qualifying school teams with free entries, accommodation for qualifying riders and officials, free meals as well as travel assistance in an effort to make this amazing opportunity accessible to as many schools as possible,” concludes Cronje.

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